I Spent a Week in Dubai: Here Are Some of the Most Over-the-Top Things You Need to See

Editor’s note: Accommodations for a week-long trip were provided by Visit Dubai, a program under the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing for the city. 

When you think of a luxury vacation, what comes to mind? Maybe you’re daydreaming of a private island retreat or an opulent chateau excursion. If you’re looking for a unique trip with a little out-of-this-world flair, Dubai should make your list of must-see destinations. Located in the United Arab Emirates and one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, Dubai doesn’t skimp on the details you’re looking for in a world-class experience.

If you put Dubai on your travel bucket list, you’ll have your pick of five-star resorts, unparalleled dining experiences, and more shopping and entertainment options than you could possibly fit into a week — or month. No matter your travel goals, you can bet Dubai has something to pique your interest. Here are just a few of the attractions you’ll find in Dubai that are sure to amaze you.

1. The tallest building in the world

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, dwarfing the skyscrapers around it. | Nikelle Murphy/Culture Cheat Sheet

Dubai isn’t into subtlety. When the city has a chance to do something bigger and better than anything else that exists in the world, it takes on that challenge. Case in point: the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which stands as a beacon in the city’s downtown center. “Burj” means “tower” in Arabic, and it certainly lives up to that distinction. The building reaches toward the heavens at 2,716.5 feet — more than half a mile into the sky. Visitors can go up 148 floors to the top observation deck, just shy of the tower’s total 160 stories. For reference, it’s more than 900 feet higher than the One World Trade Center in New York City, almost double the height of the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago, and 4.5 times higher than the Space Needle in Seattle.

From the top floor, you can look out over the strip of skyscrapers built along the main artery of the Sheikh Zayed highway, peering onto the tops of buildings that would otherwise be the pinnacle of the skyline. An elevator ride spanning more than 100 floors takes less than a minute — so smooth and fast you wouldn’t know how high you’re going, aside from a slight popping in your ears.

To outdo itself, Dubai’s rulers announced in late 2016 that another tower “a notch” taller than the Burj Khalifa will be completed in Dubai by 2020. However, its newfound height could be overshadowed by a taller tower in Saudi Arabia, slated to be completed the same year. That tower could reach more than 3,000 feet high — likely a feat for Dubai to meet (or surpass) in future years.

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